Seth Godin makes an interesting point in “The problem with prototypes”, when he says “your prototype has to be better than the finished product is going to be.” This is something we come across quite often in our work, when we send in proposals and do a “quick” prototype of the final solution. And we seem to make exactly the same assumptions that Seth suggests we should not. “This is just the concept, so a quick scribble is enough.” “Let’s do some rough designs; we can refine them later.” May be that’s not such a smart idea after all. A good idea badly represented may not be too different from a bad idea.
Of course, it’s tempting to argue that one may not have the time and resources to do a “better than final” prototype. But then, may be that’s a question of scope. May be we should pick up a smaller unit of learning and prototype it better.
As I write this, it strikes me that in advertising, the layouts and designs we make for business pitches are probably far superior to what finally comes out in the media.
Tailpiece: Quite often, the advertisements for a product are better than the product itself; so, if we go by Seth’s views, is the advertisement a prototype for the real product?
(Geetha Krishnan heads Instructional Design at Tata Interactive Systems)